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Auto sales post strong recovery in March, but Q1 remains negative

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By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Motor vehicle sales strongly rebound in March jumped by double- digit growth compared to the previous month and versus March 2018 sales, but it was not good enough to bring the first quarter sales to a positive territory.

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The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association reported that sales in March reached 32,173 or 22 percent higher than the 26,327 units in February and 14 percent more than the March 2018 sales of 28,216 units.

“The double-digit growth during the month ofMarch compared to the same month last year is a strong indication that the automotive industry is well on its way to recovery. We are optimistic that this trend will be sustained in the coming months,” said CAMPI President Rommel Gutierrez said.

However, the month of March performance failed to lift the overall first quarter sales out of the woods with sales still at 0.8 percent negative to 85,388 units from 86.037 units in the first first quarter of 2018. The passenger car segment dragged overall sales with 9.8 percent decline to 26,172 units versus 28,907 first quarter of 2018. The commercial vehicle segment was able to pull a positive 3.7 percent increase to 59,216 units from 57,130 units.

Light trucks category was the biggest winner with 41.8 percent increase as sales went up to 2,024 units from 1,427 units last year. This was followed by light commercial vehicles or sport utility vehicle with 24 percent increase to 48,279 units from 38,929 in the first quarter of 2018.

Sales of Asian utility vehicle was the biggest loser with 51.3 percent drop to 7,390 units from 15,173 units first quarter of 2018. Category 14 (trucks and buses) managed to grow by 12 percent to 1,222 units from 1,091 units while the big trucks and buses drop by 41 percent from to 301 units from 510 units last year.

Among car firms, Toyota Motor Philippines sold 33,554 units followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines with 16,140 units and Nissan Philippines Inc. with 11,239 units.

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